The Redhawks had the looks and the gameplan come together, but the shots just didn't fall, and North Tama fell at home 61-54 to Don Bosco last Tuesday night.
Jacob Gorder led all scorers with 17 points on five made baskets, while going 6-for-7 at the line, and Jake Hlas pitched in 14 more on three made 3-pointers in the loss.
Don Bosco was led by both Cael Tenold and Clayton Weber who each had 12 points.
North Tama’s Jacob Gorder drives in for a layup against Don Bosco’s Zach Nie (33) during the first half of Tuesday night’s game. Gorder led all scorers with 17 points.
A four-point swing giving North Tama (3-3) a 46-44 lead in the first 10 seconds of the fourth quarter looked promising for Redhawk comeback in Traer. But despite forcing a handful of turnovers and missed free throws on Don Bosco's (5-1) part, the shots just didn't go in for North Tama late.
"Our pressure was getting to them down the stretch, and it was starting to pay off," said North Tama head coach Alex Tagtow. "So, we were trying to ride that horse to the end. The problem was, we couldn't get a basket in the end. We were getting the turnovers and we were getting pretty good shots, we just couldn't get one to fall. We needed one, and we went two, three, four minutes in a row without one."
After Will Earley converted an and-1 play to make it 57-51 with less than 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining, the Redhawks failed to make another bucket. Gorder hit a pair of free throws with 67 seconds remaining, but that was the end of North Tama's offense for the night.
Despite contested shots for most of the night, Tagtow said he just didn't have an answer for why some of those should-be shots didn't fall for his squad Tuesday night.
"If I knew, I'd be coaching somewhere else, being paid a lot more money," Tagtow joked. "I couldn't tell you. I thought we got great looks, and couldn't get them to go. And they were guys who are capable, were taking them and they were looks were getting in the first half. That's just how it goes sometimes."
Of their 18 made baskets, eight of them came in the first half. Of the 10 in the second half, just two were 3-pointers. And when the clock began to wind, the shots stopped going down.
Earley had 11 points to add to North Tama's effort Tuesday night, cashing in on four buckets down low. Hale Hulme had five with a 3-pointer in the first half, Nic Sierra and Joe Earley each had two points and Cory Kennedy was 1-for-2 with one point for the Redhawks.
Moving forward, Tagtow said the loss has to be more of a stepping stone rather than a plateau during a season that's already seen so much progress early on.
"We did [play four complete quarters of basketball], and I feel like we didn't do that last week," Tagtow said. "I challenge them this week to do that, and they handled that really well and am really proud with how hard these guys played."